A series of articles by Dr. Moiz Shams, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


I am going to start by quoting Late Sister Nivedita essay, which most of the historians quote:

"It has doubtless been this close contiguity of highly diversified elements within her boundaries that had so often made Bihar the birth place of towering geniuses. The great Chandragupta, his grandson Ashoka,the whole of the Gupta dynasty, Sher Shah,and finally Guru Govind Singh are more than a fair share of the eminent personalities of Indian history for one province to have produced.The policy of the great Akbar himself was determined by the idea of his predecessors, Sher Shah. Each of the great Biharis has been an organizer. No one had been a blind force or a tool of others. Each had consciously surveyed and comprehended contemporary conditions, and knew how to unify them in himself, and give them a final, irresistible impulsion in true direction."

These words are no doubt as true of the present - comparing small things with the great - as of the past.

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Lying approximately in the Lower and Middle Gangetic region and extending 483 km from west to east, most fertile lands in India. Bounded on the north by the independent kingdom of Nepal, on the west by U.P and Madhya Pradesh, on the south by Jharkhand and on the east by West Bengal. The river Ganga flows right across it from west to east dividing it into two unequal parts. Thus the main line of physiographic division is between the great monotonus alluvial plain of the Ganga and her tributaries .The alluvial plain on both sides of the Ganga has been formed by the silt carried by this mighty river and its numerous tributaries.
Bihar is thus traditionally divided into two natural divisions, viz.
1-The north Ganga plain
2-The south Ganga plain
THE NORTH GANGA PLAIN: It extends from the base of the terai in the north to the Ganga in the south, covering an area of about 56,980 square km of alluvial soil of great depth and extreme fineness. It spreads over the whole of Tirhut, saran, Darbhanga and Kosidivision and has a gentle slope towards the south. The ganga flows from west to east near the southern margin of the plain. It is joined just above Patna by Gandak draining from Nepal and farther upstream on the opposite bank by Son from the south-west. Farther west the Ghagra joins the Ganga from the north-west and for some distance both rivers from the state boundry.

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 Towards the north and north-west in the East and West Champaran districts the country begins to undulate and the alluvial plain gives place to a broken hilly region as the DUN or Ramnagar Dun.This consists of a range og low hills,about 32 kilometers,north of which the Someshwar range extends for about 74 kilometers along the northern frontier.Below these hills extend southwards and eastwards large grassy prairies watered by numerous hill-streams,while in the back prairies watered by numerous hill-streams,while in the background tower the Himalayas of Nepal in an imposing panorama of eternal snow.It is noticeable that  the soil even at the foot of the hills has no rocky formation and wherever water can be impounded,rich growth of crop is possible.The -hill streams,however,play havoc by bringingdown huge quantities of sand and destroying cultivable lands.The hill contain large stretches of jungles and forests.In the north the terai carries SAL forests and tall reedy grasses: but most of the unreclaimed TERAI lies beyond the Nepal border,leaving Bihar only a very thin strip east of the Kosi.Floodplains and DIARAS have a riverine jungle of SISSU tamarisk and reeds.


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The alluvial filling south of the Ganga is shallow,a mere veneer and the peninsular edge is very ragged. Many groups of small craggy hills rise up to 448 meters from islands of bare rock or scrub. In the west,where the SON makes a great deltaic re-entrance into the older rocks, this alluvial is some 137 kilometres wide, but in the east where lie the Rajmahal Hills,the extreme north east point of the peninsula,it goes almost directly on to the Ganga.A considerable part of this sprawling plain is but BHANGAR,and the inundated areas are fewer than those to the north of Ganga in Tirhut and Saran divisions.Still they are important.The river bank itself lies high,except in Bhojpur district,  at high water the tributaries are flooded and pushed back. The Punpun valley, parallel to the Son on the east, is thus annually flooded.

Both in the north and the south of the Ganga, the construction of railways across the drainage causes local, but sometimes disastrous water logging and flooding. Some of these temporary inundation, however are agriculturally useful: either rabi crops are grown on them when they dry out, or they are bounded for producing dry-weather rice.

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One of the most striking features of the river system of Bihar is the dominant role of the Ganges. First impinging on the boundary of Bihar near its confluence with the KARAMNASA, it is joined by the great affluents-the GHAGHRA, the GANDAK, and the SONE-not very far from Patna. Further east, the PUNPUN joins it from the south of Fatwah in Patna district,,while the HAROHAR and the KIUL join at Surajgarha in Muger. The important rivers that join the Ganga from the north are,from west to east,the GHAGHRA,the GANDAK,the BURHI GANDAK, the KOSI, the MAHANANDA and their tributaries. Of these, the GHAGHRA is liable to overflow its channel and inundate the adjoining region during the rainy season. The GANDAK, a snow-fed river formed by the union seven Himalyan streams, enters Bihar near TRIBENI and joins Ganga opposite Patna.BURHI GANDAK has a considerable flow of water throughout the year. The BAGHMATI, rising in Nepal, north of Kathmandu,follows a course nearly parallel to that of the BURHI GANDAK which joins it near Rosera in Samastipur. The KOSI leaves its mountain home at Chatra and arrives in Bihar as a mighty river heavily laden with sandy debris. The MAHANANDA,an important easternly tributary of the Ganga in Bihar, actually joins the Ganga in west Bengal. The KARAMNASA, the SONE, the PUNPUN, the PHALGU, the SAKRI and the KIUL are the principal streams that join the Ganga from the south.


.............................. TO BE CONTINUED

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